Swarming Motility

Swarming motility is a rapid (2–10 μm/s) and coordinated translocation of a bacterial population across solid or semi-solid surfaces. This type of motility is an example of an emerging concept in microbiology : bacterial multicellularity. Swarming motility was first reported by Jorgen Henrichsen and has been mostly studied in genus Serratia, Salmonella, Aeromonas, Bacillus, Yersinia, Pseudomonas, Proteus, Vibrio and Escherichia.

This multicellular behavior has been mostly observed in controlled laboratory conditions and relies on two critical elements: 1) the nutrient composition and 2) viscosity of culture medium (i.e. % agar). One particular feature of this type of motility is the formation of dendritic fractal-like patterns formed by migrating swarms moving away from an initial location. Although the majority of species can produce tendrils when swarming, some species like Proteus mirabilis do form concentric circles motif instead of dendritic patterns.

Read more about Swarming MotilityBiosurfactant, Quorum Sensing and Swarming, Cellular Differentiation, Ecological Significance

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Swarming Motility - Ecological Significance
... The fundamental role of swarming motility remains unknown ... However, it has been observed that active swarming bacteria of Salmonella typhimurium shows an elevated resistance to certain antibiotics compared to undifferentiated cells ...

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    Many a time I have seen my mother leap up from the dinner table to engage the swarming flies with an improvised punkah, and heard her rejoice and give humble thanks simultaneously that Baltimore was not the sinkhole that Washington was.
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